A Bangkok apartment building collapsed yesterday afternoon, less than two months after district officials ordered demolition work suspended.
The structural failure on Soi Saphan Yao also took down two utility poles that, in turn, plummeted to the ground, destroying five cars and two motorbikes. Fortunately no injuries were reported as the building was vacant at the time and the area was not busy.
Demolition of the apartment in the capital’s Din Daeng district began in early December as part of a community redevelopment project by the National Housing Authority. A shiny 35-story building was set to replace the dilapidated, five-story one, Workpoint reported.
However, on Valentine’s Day, demolition work was ordered halted after the construction site was found to be below standards – a concern echoed by the building’s neighbors.
As of publication time, officials had not determined why the work continued despite the order.
At the time of the incident, two cranes had started smashing the building from its base, which (given the basic laws of physics) caused the upper portion to come crashing down. There were reportedly no engineers overseeing demolition efforts at the time of the incident.
District office director Panchapat Lakdee told local media they were investigating the incident, which may result in legal action against the housing authority, the private contractor overseeing the demolition or the building’s supervisor.
Construction accidents – often fatal – are common in Bangkok, where standards are poorly enforced and payoffs all too easy. Few in power or responsible for the work are held accountable.
Few people involved seemed interested in talking about the case Wednesday morning.
Calls to the housing authority for comment were transferred several times before terminating. Din Daeng district officers could not be reached via phone despite several calls. While Din Daeng police are handling the case, a representative said they had no comment about what happened.